When I discuss how to decide where to live in retirement, I recommend that people not pay much attention to surveys and rankings. I’ve seen many of them over the years. While they’re interesting, a survey ranking doesn’t help an individual make a decision. You probably don’t give factors the same priority or weighting as the rankers did. The rankings rarely are done by people who’ve actually visited the areas, much less lived there for an extended period.
This article makes the points well. It discusses at some length a recent ranking of best places to retire by U.S. News. Then, it discusses two other recent rankings of best places to retire and points out the vast differences between the three rankings. Only one location made it in the top 10 of two rankings, and none made it in all three.
Still, Best Places to Retire rankings can be a useful part of your research as long as you closely read their methodology, so you understand what the raters were rating.
“These types of surveys can be a great starting point in deciding where to retire,” said Brandon. “It all comes down to your personal preferences. Your criteria for what makes a best place to retire may be different than for others.”